Behind the scenes of the Alexandria Gazette Packet’s article on, “They Served Their Country – Davis and Shanklin Families”– dated November 26, 2020.
Sammy Shanklin shared the stories of his family military careers. Sammy’s family came to Alexandria prior to the Civil War from King George, Virginia. The Shanklin and Davis families have made many contributions to their community in the last 150-years especially their military careers.
In the article, you will read about the Army services of Chester Leroy Davis and his brother William “Billy” Davis, but there were others in their family that served in the military.
Edgar D. Shanklin who served in the Unites States Navy during World War II. Edgar was married to Helen Jones and they had several children. Their daughter, Gwendolyn Arlene Shanklin followed in her father’s footstep. She enlisted in the United States Navy from 1974 to 1977.
Mr. Josephus (Joe) Lovelace and his mother moved to Alexandria, Virginia from Halifax, Virginia after the death of his father, Andrew Lovelace in 1943. He first attended Lyles-Crouch Elementary School for two and half months before entering Parker-Gray High School in September 1943. His family first lived on 325 North Fayette Street, then on 611 North West Street, and then they moved back to 325 North Fayette Street.
He has several fond memories of Parker-Gray. One time he was throwing snowballs when Mr. Pitts, the principal walked up behind him and he elbowed Mr. Pitts in the stomach. That action got him into trouble. Other memories were about his favorite teachers, Mrs. Dorothy Key, the Librarian and Mrs. Edith W. Casey, the Social Studies and English teacher. Both of those teachers were his homeroom teachers.
Mr. Lovelace loved horsing around and chasing the girls in school. His friends in school were John Herring (Johnnie Cake), Herbert McGreer, Willie Daniels, Robert Burless, Lloyd Diggs (Class of 1949), Louise Gaskins, Suzanne Gaskins, Theresa Bentley, Katherine Lomax and Phyllis Roy.
He gives credit to his favorite teacher, Mrs. Casey who insulted him by saying, “Do You know what the letter ‘D’ stands for?” She continued to say ‘D’ stands for “Dumb”, like you. In addition, she told him in his senior year in school, that he will not graduate unless he recited “To Be or Not to Be.”
He graduated from Parker-Gray in 1948 and joined the Army weeks later. He kept Mrs. Casey’s comment in mind, which helped him to excel in everything he did. Mr. Lovelace had 30-years of combined service in the Army and the Air Force. He worked for 15-years with the United States Postal Service while attending College and obtained an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice. Mr. Lovelace was 48-years old when he started his undergraduate program; he completed his degree in three years. After retiring from the postal service, he worked for the police department as a counselor. At the age of 82, Mr. Lovelace volunteers at the Police Department in Colorado. His military career took him to foreign countries like Germany, Korea, England, France and Japan. He had lived in Germany, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Utah, and finally settled in Denver. The negative comment that Mrs. Casey made about Mr. Lovelace was the fuel he needed to accomplish all the things he achieved. Even today, he says that Mrs. Casey was his best teacher.